Public to get say in adding species to endangered list


The Environment Ministry will invite proposals from the public about which species of wildlife should be listed as endangered.

The ministry is aiming by 2020 to add 300 to the list of rare species for which capture or trade is banned by law.

Environment officials said that collecting information via public proposals will help achieve that goal.

Under the conservation of endangered species law, 89 species including birds, insects and plants are listed as endangered and in need of protection.

Under the normal convention, the Central Environment Council, a panel that advises the minister, discusses listing proposals submitted by the ministry.

Since only 89 species have been designated in the 20 years since the law took effect in 1993, it isn’t realistic to expect that 300 species will be added to the list by 2020 using the conventional process.

This prompted the ministry to adopt the proposal mechanism so the public and nongovernmental organizations dealing in environmental issues would participate, the officials said.

Anyone making a proposal will need to cite clear reasoning, including habitat conditions and problems the species face.

Deer census on the way

The Environment Ministry this spring will launch its first nationwide study on the population and habitat of Japanese deer, following growing damage the animal has caused to crops and the environment.

Based on the results, the ministry will set a target number for deer culling in every prefecture as early as summer 2015, officials said.

The ministry hopes systematic efforts by each prefecture will halve the deer populace by fiscal 2023 from an estimated 3.25 million in fiscal 2011, they said.

Damage from deer is becoming a serious concern across the nation, with produce being eaten up and trees dying after their bark is consumed.